Teacher Appreciation Week was especially sweet for one Medford educator.
North Medford English teacher Greg Bryant was named the Southern Oregon regional Teacher of the Year, one of 13 regional finalists now being considered for 2019 Oregon Teacher of the Year.
The teacher and multi-sport coach called the win “an immense and incredible responsibility.”
Bryant said that he doesn’t usually seek awards, but after being nominated, went through the process of writing essays and gathering recommendations out of gratitude.
“Looking ahead, if I were to be awarded Oregon Teacher of the Year, my mind would go to: how do I honor my colleagues and mentors and administrators and parents and volunteers with this award?”
All 50 states and Washington, D.C. select Teachers of the Year; Oregon’s for 2019 will be announced in September. According to the Oregon Teacher of the Year website, candidates are expected to be “exceptionally dedicated, knowledgeable and skilled.” Other criteria for selection include: being an expert in their field, working collaboratively and creating safe and respectful environments for students of all backgrounds and demonstrating leadership qualities.
Bryant will begin alternative education work next school year, as part of the Medford School District’s efforts to broaden options for students to stay in their assigned high schools rather than transfer out to Central Medford High School or the Opportunity School.
“What’s great about Greg is he’s really good at engaging students,” said Jessica Hamlin, an assistant principal at North Medford. “How he does that is by really understanding them, getting to know them building relationships and then connecting them with projects ... so students are more interested and so then they’re more motivated.”
Bryant has coached wrestling at McLoughlin Middle School, South Medford High School and North Medford. He also coaches freshman football and is involved with Freshman Academy.
He said that he thinks expectations are what lead to disappointment, frustration and breakdown of progress; instead, he said, he teaches kids and athletes to “think about ways that you can add value to situation or people or circumstances.”
Bryant received $500 for his regional award and will now be considered for the state award. Oregon Teacher of the Year wins a $5,000 award, with a matching award going to his or her school. The winner also receives an additional travel fund to cover expenses as he or she tours the state and speaks at conferences, meets with governmental and advocacy groups and operates programs according to their expertise. First and second runners-up receive $2,000 each through the program’s partnership with the Oregon Lottery.
Reach reporter Kaylee Tornay at 541-776-4497 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.